Governor Tells State Police 'Open Carry' is Law in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Times) -- Gov. Asa Hutchinson sent a letter to Arkansas State Police indicating he believes a 2013 law made legal open carry of guns the law of the land in Arkansas and they should act accordingly.

There is, as yet, no definitive court case that substantiates this view of the law. Ever since its passage, a debate has raged over the law's meaning. Some contended it was merely meant to be a technical correction to Arkansas law that long had allowed the carrying of weapons on a "journey," but not in all circumstances. Gun advocates argued that the wording validated open carry. Critics argue that such an expansive view might override some of the restrictions in law on where concealed weapons may be taken.

The governor's letter comes as he faces a challenge in the Republican primary from Jan Morgan, a gun range owner who's depicted Hutchinson (a former spokesman for the NRA) as soft on guns (she was critical of some limitations added to the campus carry legislation, among others). His opinion carries no force of law, but the directive to an executive agency will have the effect of guiding state troopers, as indicated by a notice sent yesterday to troopers by Col. Bill Bryant, director of the State Police. The Arkansas Times received both the governor's letter, dated Dec. 15, and Bryant's memo through a Freedom of Information Act request.

To continue reading this story and see the governor's letter, click here.


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